'Champagne and Razor Blades': My first 4 months in recruitment

'Champagne and Razor Blades': My first 4 months in recruitment
Article contributed by Oliver Bailey
Written on 20 February 2017

When I first interviewed at Walker Andersen I was told that ‘recruitment is champagne and razor blades’. In this blog, I will try and establish whether there has been more bubbles or blood...

It was a warm summer night, I stumbled - bleary eyed – from the lemon-scented lift of my office block. At that moment, as I dragged my weary body through the revolving doors I knew my job wasn’t for me. As I returned to my damp, King's-Cross hostel I had a flash of brilliance that would change the course of my life forever. I could be, a recruiter.

Perhaps I’ve been over dramatic, it happens occasionally. But I don’t doubt that my new job at Walker Andersen has dramatically changed my time in Australia.

I hated my previous sales job. I was undervalued and underpaid with no clear progression path. I had come to Sydney to make money, large amounts of money, obnoxious amounts of money - and yet here I was, throwing my cash into the vacuous, hedonistic nights at backpacker bars. One must eventually ask oneself, how much money can you really spend on goon before you become sad.


My interview at Walker Andersen was a whirlwind of emotions. Realistically, I didn’t know what a recruiter really did. I just had to hope they saw potential.

Every day during my first week I left with a headache. I was at a loss as to what recruitment involved. I certainly had no idea what an accountant did. I suppose on the (newly created by me) razor-blades-to-champagne scale, this was at the sharper end. This was the ‘steep learning curve’ I had heard about.

Thanks to bi-weekly training combined with a saint of a manager who answers all of my questions, even when I have asked them ten times over, I now understand what I’m doing. Almost.

The work itself is extremely enjoyable, it’s sales really. But really hard sales. Sales where the product will suddenly not text you back for a week or leave the country for 3 months and turn up again later down the line as if nothing has happened. That’s the hard side.

The exciting side is you have uncapped earning potential and work in a meritocratic atmosphere. How many firms can you join and genuinely believe you could be an Associate Director in three years time? Very few.


I guess those are the big selling points. But what has surprised me is the extent to which you can take other satisfaction from the role. I’d go as far to say that the most rewarding aspect of the role that I hadn’t considered when I took the job is the satisfaction you feel when you are able to tell a candidate that they can quit their underpaid job for a better paid, closer to home, dream role. They are incredibly grateful and it feels like you are making a real difference. You have the chance to change a person’s career for the better and make a meaningful impact on their life.

If anyone ever was to ask me why I love being a recruiter, I’d glaze over and look back, misty-eyed as I recall my first placement. His name for the purposes of this article can be Greg. When I, awkwardly, closed Greg and heard him say he wanted to take the job I was ecstatic. It was like a natural high, the headaches, the hard work, everything had paid off. That was 7 weeks into the job and since then I have made 5 more placements in 2 months. It feels great every time. It strokes your ego and your bank balance. I helped Greg get a job at a firm easily ten times better than his last, and I got paid to do so. The old cliche is that you should do a job you love rather than one where you love the salary. Thankfully, recruitment manages to combine both.

Walker Andersen provide you with the training and skills to make a lot of money. The office is welcoming and friendly, energetic and bubbling, and, thankfully, not lemon scented. Overall my time here has certainly been more champagne than razor blades.. ‘Pass the Bubbles’.

Oliver Bailey | Recruitment Consultant | Blogger Extraordinaire | Recovering Backpacker.

If you'd like to find out about a career in recruitment or if you are a public practice accountant keen to hear how I can help you in your job search contact: obailey@walkerandersen.com or call me on 02 8256 5020


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